Of all the gifts a volunteer can give, fostering is the most precious. Our foster homes are the lifeline of our organization and it is only because of our wonderful foster homes that we're able to continue saving these amazing dogs. The number of Shorthairs we're able to save directly depends on the number of foster homes we have available. The harsh reality is that, because we have no physical shelter in which to house dogs until they're adopted, there are times we have to tell a shelter we have no room to take in a GSP needing a safe haven. It breaks our hearts but we cannot responsibly bring in a dog and have no place for them to stay.
It is the kindest, most selfless and most rewarding act to bring a rescue dog into your home, love and care for it until it's adopted. Anyone who has ever fostered will tell you they receive far more from the dogs they foster than they give. When a dog is in foster care we learn about their personality, needs, habits, character, energy level and so much more. You'll come to know the dog better than anyone and this will play a major role in finding them their absolute best family.
You may feel fostering is beyond your abilities but maybe that's not true. Our foster dogs are a grateful bunch who don't ask for much; just a safe, secure environment, good food, lots of love, and help learning how to be the best dog they can be. As a foster parent you provide a kind hand, a soft voice, basic training and plenty of exercise. APWGSPR provides medical care, a crate, collar, leash, dog bed if needed, and all the advice and support you need. If you have a love for this breed, the question is, why aren't you fostering?
How do you become a foster?
We ask that you become an approved foster home and it's a simple matter of filling out our online Foster application. A representative from the rescue will contact you to answer any questions you may have and to schedule a home visit. During the home visit our foster coordinator will meet you, your family and any current pets. She will have suggestions for preparing your home and yard for a foster GSP. She will discuss any restrictions or concerns you might have with taking in a foster dog; some prefer female vs male, seniors over young dogs, etc. This will aid in matching you with a foster dog.
Once you are approved, we will discuss the details of any potential Shorthairs that we are trying to pull into rescue. Our goal is to match you with a foster dog who ideally fits into your home and lifestyle. Once both parties are comfortable that we have a good match, we will work together to determine transport and drop off of your foster dog. We don't accept dog into our rescue unless we have a confirmed foster home.
We will work together to make sure the dog is up to date on vaccinations, there are no obvious health problems, and the like. If there is a medical need, the medical coordinator will work with you to schedule a vet appointment with one of the rescue approved vet offices to have the dog seen. Rescue approved veterinary offices will handle billing of services directly with the rescue. You will care for he/she until they're adopted. Most dogs are in foster home for one (1) to two (2) months. You are never alone when fostering! Rescue member are here to help with advice and support during the foster process. We are always there for you!
What is the time commitment?
Your time commitment depends on you and even if you can only help out a dog as a temporary foster home for a few weeks, it may be just the amount of time needed to find her/him a permanent foster home. Many dogs come into our program and are only with their foster family a few weeks to a few months. Some dogs may take longer to place and could be with you for several months. On unique occasions we get a dog, such as a senior or one with health problems, who is considered a long- term foster because they may be more difficult to place due to their special needs.
When you complete the Foster Application you will have an option to select your preference(s) on the length of time that you would like to foster a GSP for. We can't promise how long a dog will be with you but we can hopefully give you a good estimate of the potential stay for your foster dog. Some fosters homes choose to continuously foster dogs, some actually foster multiple dogs at the same time, some do it from time to time and others on a short term or emergency/temporary basis. We want to work with you and your needs so that together we can help save GSPs!
How can you let them go?
Did we mention foster homes are first in line to adopt their foster dog if they fall in love? Don't let concerns for getting too attached stop you from saving a life. Most of our own volunteers have foster "failed" and that is ok!
That said, "How can you let them go?", is probably the question we hear the most. In the words of some of our fosters:
How do you foster a dog only to let him go? It isn't easy. You bring a dog into your home who has no home, who may have been neglected, abused, or abandoned. Then you watch him learn how to be a dog again, how to be loved and to love again. Well, it's a beautiful thing. To then be able to give him to a family you know will take care of him and love him like you did, what a gift that is! It isn't until later you really learn the beauty of fostering, hearing the stories of how much these pups are loved, the great lives they live now and how their new families can't believe they ever lived without them! It's truly heartwarming and the very best part of fostering! ~ Jan
You bring a broken spirit, both in mind and body, into your home and send a confident, loving creature out into the world. At the end of the day, you create a family member – they are not just a dog anymore. To see a dog I've fostered with their new Forever Family, the joy on everyone’s face, to know I’ve been a part of it is quite simply the most amazing feeling in the world. ~Anna
As a foster parent, you offer the first warm, loving environment the dog may have had in quite some time, or ever. In your home they have the ability to heal, grow and become the dog they were meant to be. There's a moment when you know you love them, with all their quirks, their goofiness and then you actually say I love you. You realize they may have never heard those words before.